Vietnam culls 137,000 birds to contain avian influenza outbreaks

first_imgVietnam has so far this year culled 137,180 birds to contain the spreading of bird flu outbreaks, the government said on Thursday.The outbreaks, including 38 outbreaks of H5N6 and five outbreaks of H5N1, have been detected in 13 out of Vietnam’s 63 provinces this year, the government said in a statement.All of the bird flu outbreaks have happened at farms where the birds have not been vaccinated, it said, adding that, in several provinces, only 10%-20% of the birds were vaccinated.Vietnam has a poultry flock of 460 million, and small-sized bird flu outbreaks have not been uncommon in the country during the past five years. Topics :last_img

France to transfer critical coronavirus patients by train to ease hospital pressure

first_img“What is planned from the Paris region by TGV (train) is (to transport) 38 sick people,” Bruno Riou, who heads up the Paris hospitals’ crisis team, told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.”We’re close to knowing whether we will be able to remain under the saturation stage so the regional transfers, notably tomorrow, will be an important security valve even if it’s a small number of patients.”France has already been shuffling patients from the east of the country, where the virus outbreak has overwhelmed hospitals, to other areas and neighboring countries. The army has been drafted to help, while 36 patients were moved to western France from the east on medically outfitted TGV trains on Sunday.France 3 TV reported that the patients from Paris would be moved to Brittany in the country’s northwest.”We had 200 patients in intensive care in mid-March, 1,000 on March 24 and as of today about 1,900. That shows a colossal increase in a very short space of time, which makes things extremely difficult,” said Antoine Vieillard-Baron, head of the surgical and medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the University Hospital Ambroise Pare. Thirty-eight critically ill coronavirus patients will be transferred by high-speed train from the Paris area to less overwhelmed regions on Wednesday to ease pressure on the capital’s intensive-care capacity, French health officials said.France recorded its worst daily coronavirus death toll on Monday, taking the toll above 3,000 for the first time, with the country battling to free up space in life-support units.That has now become critical in Paris, where the number of beds in intensive care units is now practically at the same level as the number of patients. Topics :last_img read more

State revenue to contract 10% as businesses suffer, tax incentives take effect: Sri Mulyani

first_img“We expect negative growth in state revenue as the economy declines, commodity prices fall as a result of the oil price war and the government’s tax incentives for suffering businesses,” Sri Mulyani told House Commission XI overseeing financial affairs in a livestreamed meeting.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has signed a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) that activates crisis protocols, such as widening the state budget deficit beyond the legal limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), as the administration steps up efforts to cushion the economy in the face of a global recession caused by the pandemic.Read also: ‘File your tax returns’: Tax office intensifies efforts to collect taxes as budget burdens multiplyThe Perppu slashes corporate income tax from 25 percent to 22 percent for the years 2020 and 2021 and will be further reduced to 20 percent starting 2022. The government will provide additional rate cuts of 3 percent for public companies with at least 40 percent of their stock traded on the stock market. State revenue is expected to nosedive this year as the government rolls out tax incentives, including corporate income tax cuts, amid the COVID-19 outbreak that has triggered declines in commodity prices and business output.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Monday that the state revenue would amount to Rp 1.76 quadrillion (US$65 billion) this year, a decline of 10 percent year-on-year (yoy) compared with 2019. The figure is also lower than the 2020 state budget target of Rp 2.23 quadrillion.Tax income will fall 5.4 percent yoy, while customs and excise revenue will decline 2.2 percent due to deferred import taxes in 19 manufacturing industries. Meanwhile, nontax income will contract 26.5 percent due to lower oil and coal prices. It also exempts workers whose annual salary is below Rp 200 million from paying income tax for six months, as well as deferring import tax payments for six months for 19 manufacturing industries. It will also speed up the repayment of overpaid taxes.The government now expects state spending to reach Rp 2.61 quadrillion this year, resulting in a budget deficit of Rp 853 trillion, 5.07 percent of GDP, after the government unveiled Rp 405 trillion of additional spending to cushion the adverse impacts of the virus outbreak and to strengthen the country’s healthcare system. The deficit figure is much higher than 1.76 percent set out in the state budget.“This is an ongoing scenario because the situation is going to be rapidly developing, particularly in April and May during which the peak period is expected to occur, according to various projections,” Sri Mulyani said. “The scenario may change according to the virus development.”Jokowi has declared a public health emergency and ordered large-scale social restrictions as the pneumonia-like illness spreads rapidly. As of Monday afternoon, at least 2,400 people were infected with more than 200 fatalities, according to official data.The government now expects Indonesia’s economy to grow 2.3 percent in 2020, according to the baseline scenario, and even contract 0.4 percent in the worst-case scenario as the virus disrupts business activity.Topics :last_img read more

Trump says reports on Kim’s health ‘incorrect’

first_img‘A good relationship’Trump’s denial of the report came two days after he declined to comment on the matter, saying only that he wished Kim well.South Korea, which is still technically at war with the North, earlier said it had seen no unusual movements in its neighbor.Trump has met Kim three times in historic summitry and has voiced admiration for him, although hopes have dimmed for reaching a comprehensive agreement.”I hope he’s not in medical trouble. I hope he’s not. I have gotten along very well with him,” Trump said Thursday.”Remember you would have been in a war with North Korea if I didn’t get elected president.”Trump declined to state when he was last in touch with Kim, saying: “We have a good relationship with North Korea, as good as you can have.”Shortly before reports emerged on Kim’s health, Trump said he had received a “nice note” from the leader, but North Korea denied sending any message.North Korea has fired off a series of rockets as it demands concessions from the Trump administration, which says that international sanctions should remain until the regime fully denuclearizes.Kim was conspicuously absent on April 15 from celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the regime’s founder — the most important day on the North Korean political calendar.The flamboyant basketball star Dennis Rodman — who until Pompeo and Trump had been the highest-profile American to meet the reclusive Kim — said that he was “praying for his speedy recovery.” “I hope it’s just a rumor that Marshal Kim Jong-Un is sick,” Rodman told celebrity gossip site TMZ. “Hopefully I will find out more soon.” Topics : US President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was ailing, criticizing his frequent nemesis CNN for running the story.”I think the report was incorrect, let me just put it that way,” Trump told reporters. “I’m hearing they used old documents.”Trump declined to say if he had direct knowledge from North Korea that Kim was fine.  It said that Kim, who is in his mid-30s, had needed urgent treatment due to heavy smoking, obesity and fatigue. He instead attacked cable news network CNN, with which the US leader has an acrimonious relationship.”I think it was a fake report done by CNN,” Trump said at a daily briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, before refusing to take further questions from a journalist of the network.CNN, quoting what it said was an anonymous US official, on Monday reported that Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery.Daily NK, an online media outlet run mostly by North Korean defectors, separately said that Kim underwent a cardiovascular procedure earlier this month and was recovering at a villa in North Pyongan province.last_img read more

‘Omnipresent’ Klaten Regent Sri Mulyani draws mockery

first_imgThe regent of Klaten in Central Java, Sri Mulyani, has been thrust into the spotlight as photos of her ubiquitous use of personal branding – ranging from plastic bags to textbook covers – have gone viral on social media.#BupatiKlatenMemalukanA Thread…— Buyutnya Aristoteles (@AresJuliyanto) April 27, 2020Besides becoming the butt of many jokes, Sri is also under scrutiny for potentially abusing her power as an incumbent ahead of the 2020 regional elections.She first found herself in the limelight when Twitter users pointed out that bottles of hand sanitizer recently distributed by the Social Affairs Ministry featured a portrait of the regent. Anticorruption activist and former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioner Laode Muhammad Syarif tweeted a photo of the controversial product label on Monday.In a separate image, Laode showed what appeared to be the product’s original sticker, which featured a Social Affairs Ministry hashtag.Jika gambar ini betul:Ini CONTOH yg mengambil KESEMPATAN KAMPANYE di tengah WABAH COVID-19.Contoh CONFLICT OF INTEREST akut & bupati TANPA RASA MALU.BANTUAN @KemensosRI DITEMPELI PHOTO DIRI SENDIRI.@DivHumas_Polri @OmbudsmanRI137 @KPK_RI @Kemendagri_RI @ganjarpranowo— Laode M Syarif (@LaodeMSyarif) April 26, 2020“If these pictures are real, they are examples of [political opportunism] amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They serve as an example of conflict of interest,” he wrote in the caption. “A shameless regent. Aid provided by the Social Affairs Ministry is plastered with her own photo.”The tweet has since gone viral, garnering more than 1,800 retweets and 2,700 likes as of Wednesday afternoon and giving rise to the hashtag #BupatiKlatenMemalukan (#ShamelessKlatenRegent). The Social Affairs Ministry has yet to release a statement regarding the issue.Other Twitter users responded to the furor by posting tongue-in-cheek memes that poke fun at the Klaten regent’s apparent omnipresence in the public sphere, with some even inserting Sri’s photo into a variety of popular everyday products and pop culture references.“The daily life of Klaten residents,” @bosenberdamai tweeted, alongside edited images of famous brands that now include a portrait of Sri.Orang klaten daily life#bupatiklaten— Muhammad Ridho Ramadhan (@bosenberdamai) April 28, 2020Another Twitter user, @radtherandom, inserted Sri’s photo into a shot from science fiction blockbuster Blade Runner 2049.“When Klaten residents watch Blade Runner,” the user wrote in the caption.orang klaten kalo nonton blade runner— Nazgûl-chan (@radtherandom) April 28, 2020Another user made a video showing the regent popping up everywhere during his daily routine.”Klaten residents right now,” @fibyow tweeted.warga klaten saat— andika fibio (@fibyow) April 28, 2020Responding to the controversy, Sri claimed that the blunder had resulted from “a technical mix-up” that occurred during the distribution of the hand sanitizer.“There has been a technical mix-up in the field that was never supposed to happen. I have cleared up [the confusion],” Sri told the press on Monday as quoted by went on to say that a mistake had been made during the distribution of aid from the local administration which happened to coincide with the distribution of 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer from the Social Affairs Ministry.“Administration officials unknowingly pasted [the regent’s label] on hand sanitizer provided by the Social Affairs Ministry,” Sri said, adding that the local administration had distributed a larger number of hand sanitizer than the ministry.Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) head Abhan, meanwhile, said the sticker did not constitute an election violation.“It is not yet campaign season,” Abhan told on Wednesday, adding that the agency had been watching for any pre-campaign violations perpetrated by incumbents.He said the agency did not prohibit any individual from providing humanitarian aid as long as it was not inherently political in nature. (rfa)Topics :last_img read more

Chinese coronavirus vaccine could be tested, manufactured in Canada

first_imgA vaccine that protects people from the coronavirus could eventually end the pandemic, but finding one that works and manufacturing enough doses is a huge challenge.CanSino’s vaccine is produced using a cell line that was developed at the NRC, the agency said, and the two organizations have worked together since 2013. The company used the same cell line to develop an Ebola vaccine.NRC and Health Canada did not immediately respond to questions about whether the collaboration would make it possible for Health Canada to consider trial data gathered in China in eventually evaluating the vaccine.Shares of Tianjin-based, Hong Kong-listed CanSino rose on April 26 after the company said Health Canada had agreed to meet to discuss a clinical trial application. Topics : China’s CanSino Biologics Inc , the company behind one of the few coronavirus vaccine candidates already in clinical trials, is collaborating with Canada’s National Research Council to “pave the way” for future trials in Canada, the research council said on Tuesday.The NRC said it would scale up a production process for CanSino’s vaccine candidate at a government facility in Montreal, and that CanSino was preparing a clinical trial application for Health Canada, the country’s drug regulator.The CanSino vaccine is in early trials, and there is no way to know whether it will work. But if it does, the collaboration could help ensure that Canadians have access to it. Local trial data could reassure Health Canada that the vaccine is safe, and local manufacturing could ensure some doses are at hand.last_img read more

US faces unemployment crisis amid record trade drop

first_imgIn further signs of the crisis facing the world’s largest economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, new data Thursday showed a record plunge in United States exports as layoffs exceeded 42 million.The two key reports on economic health indicate that even as Wall Street regains its strength and some industries show signs of recovery as virus lockdowns ease, the United States is not out of the woods yet.The Labor Department said 1.87 million workers filed new jobless claims last week, 249,000 fewer than the week prior but still a grievous figure nearly three times higher than the weekly record in the pre-pandemic economy. That is a grim omen for Friday, when the Labor Department releases the all-important May jobs report, which will likely show national unemployment climbing to around 20 percent from 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest unemployment rate in 90 years.Wall Street indices muddled through the day, with the Dow ending up just 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both closing lower, ending three days of gains that Peter Cardilo of Spartan Capital Securities said were “a little overboard” ahead of the unemployment report.However, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said he remains confident the jobless rate will fall below 10 percent by year end, telling Fox News, “Many of these jobs will come back quickly because they were still there.”But Bernstein warned high unemployment is here to stay. “(The) National unemployment rate is likely at or above 20 percent, twice that of the Great Recession peak, and full employment years away,” he said.Trade slammedMeanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that US exports and imports dropped by a record amount in April and the trade deficit jumped more than US$7 billion to $49.5 billion as the coronavirus shuttered businesses and closed down transportation worldwide.Compared to March, exports of US goods and services fell more than 20 percent or $39 billion to $151.3 billion, the lowest level in 10 years. Imports in the month dropped to $200.7 billion, a more modest 13.7 percent or $32 billion decrease.”Trade activity slowed again, this time nearly to the worst of the contraction in the financial crisis,” Oxford Economics said in an analysis.”We think trade activity will see its worst year on record in 2020.”For the year to date, the US trade gap swelled by $26 billion or more than 13 percent compared to the same period of last year, according to the report.The impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns were widespread throughout the data and in all industries and products, including aircrafts, air travel, oil, auto parts and clothing.Travel alone fell nearly $3 billion in the month, the report said.Although the collapse of trade in most cases meant the US deficit in goods alone narrowed with most countries, the deficit with China jumped to nearly $26 billion from $17 billion in March.”Exports and imports will continue to be restrained by weaker global growth and falling demand at home and abroad in the aftermath of the virus outbreak,” Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics said in an analysis.Topics : “This and other indicators suggest not that the job market is improving, but that it’s getting bad less quickly,” Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities think tank, said on Twitter.The decline in initial claims means the wave of layoffs caused by businesses closures ordered in mid-March to stop the spread of COVID-19 are slowing. More than 42 million workers have lost their jobs, at least temporarily, since mid-March, but the new data showed 21.5 million people were receiving benefits in the week ended May 23, an indication that millions either had their benefit claims rejected or have since been rehired, or more likely a combination of the two.After falling last week, the insured unemployment rate ticked up half a point to 14.8 percent – a huge number of Americans not working, but that only reflects those with unemployment benefits.last_img read more

Australia offers safe haven to Hong Kongers

first_imgChina has bristled at widespread global criticism of the law and Australia’s move to provide safe haven to some Hong Kong citizens was expected to worsen already rising tensions between the two.Beijing in recent months has imposed tariffs on some Australian imports and impeded trade in other key commodities in response to Australian steps to counter Chinese interference in the country.China, Australia’s biggest trade partner and a competitor for influence in the Pacific, was notably infuriated when Canberra led calls for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.New Zealand is also reviewing its relationship with Hong Kong because of the new law, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said, “including extradition arrangements, controls on exports of strategic goods, and travel advice”. “Australia is adjusting its laws, our sovereign laws, our sovereign immigration program, things that we have responsibility for and jurisdiction over, to reflect the changes that we’re seeing take place there,” he said during a press conference.Foreign Minister Marise Payne said China’s moves in Hong Kong were discussed earlier Thursday with Australia’s so-called “Five Eyes” security partners — New Zealand, the United States, Britain, and Canada.Morrison’s announcement came a day after China opened a new office in Hong Kong for its security agents to oversee implementation of the law targeting acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion.The law, which followed sometimes-violent pro-democracy protests, is the most radical change in Hong Kong’s freedoms since Britain handed the city back to China in 1997 under an agreement designed to preserve its freedoms for 50 years. Australia on Thursday offered pathways to permanent residency for thousands of people from Hong Kong, in a risky challenge to China over its crackdown on dissent in the city.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was also suspending its extradition agreement with the city and in addition to extending the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers already in the country, threw open the door to thousands more to start a new life Down Under.Morrison said the decisions were taken in response to the imposition by China last week of a tough new security law in Hong Kong, which he said “constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances” for the semi-autonomous territory. Topics : Permanent residency pathway Morrison brushed aside questions about whether the challenge over Hong Kong would likely lead to further Chinese retaliation.”We will make decisions about what’s in our interests, and we will make decisions about our laws and our advisories, and we will do that rationally and soberly and consistently,” he said.Under the new measures, 10,000 Hong Kong citizens and residents in Australia on student or temporary work visas will be allowed to remain in the country for an additional five years.”If you’re a temporary visa holder, your visa will be extended to an additional five years from today, in addition to the time you’ve already been in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period,” Morrison said.The five-year visa and possible permanent residency were also offered to Hong Kong entrepreneurs or skilled workers who wish to relocate to Australia in the future.”If there are businesses that wish to relocate to Australia, creating jobs, bringing investment, creating opportunities for Australia, then we will be very proactive in seeking to encourage that,” he said.The move echoed Australia’s response to the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown when Canberra offered refuge to thousands of Chinese students and their families.But it contrasts with the current conservative government’s policy of restricting immigration.Morrison said he did not expect a rush of new visa applications from Hong Kongers, in part due to coronavirus travel restrictions.And he added that it would be “very disappointing” if China tried to prevent Hong Kong citizens from taking advantage of the offer.Australia has already warned its citizens of the risk of detention under the new security law.Shortly before Morrison’s announcement, the foreign ministry warned Australians in Hong Kong of the risk of detention under the new security law.last_img read more

Stolen Brompton bike for UK social aid program allegedly for sale in Indonesia

first_imgA stolen Brompton folding bike from a social campaign program aimed to support medical workers in the United Kingdom is reportedly being offered for purchase in Indonesia, the British manufacturer said.The London-based Brompton recently contacted local community Brompton Owner Group Indonesia (BOGI), notifying its members that a stolen bike was made available for purchase by an unauthorized seller in Indonesia in late June.In a letter sent by the company to BOGI, the Brompton team claimed that the bike had been stolen from a UK health worker.The stolen bike was designated for the company’s Wheels for Heroes campaign, which aimed to provide UK’s National Health Service (NHS) workers with 1,000 bikes to help their mobility amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With the bikes, health workers can get to work without having to take public transportation.BOGI founder Baron Martanegara posted the notification letter in the group’s Facebook group on Wednesday.“Brompton has issued an official letter and red notice statement, […] if any members have any information or have [the bike], please contact me,” he wrote in the post.Baron also posted a screenshot of a letter addressed to him from Brompton senior Asia marketing executive James Ku.“I am sending this email to kindly seek for the Indonesian Brompton communities’ support to help us identify and recover the stolen bike by spreading the message within our local community,” James wrote in the letter. Read also: Cycle of crime? Brompton bikes seized over regulatory discrepancy in IndonesiaIn Brompton’s notification letter, which was also posted by Baron, the company said the bike had a crime number report and was listed on the UK’s stolen bike register.“Please be on the lookout for any further Wheels for Heroes bike in Indonesia and don’t hesitate to contact us on this matter, all information welcomed,” the letter read.“All Wheels for Heroes bike were manufactured to contribute towards a greater cause and each bike has meaningful value for every NHS key worker and the kind funders of the bikes.”As of July, the company that it has provided over 900 NHS staff with bikes through the program, raising around 320,000 (US$402,192) pounds from over 2,000 donors, adding to the company’s initial investment of 100,000 pounds to produce the bikes.Both Baron and James did not immediately respond to The Jakarta Post’s request for comment at the time of writing.Although Brompton has yet to open an official store in Indonesia, demand for the premium bikes — with prices ranging from Rp 30 million ($2,183) to Rp 80 million — has been on the rise in the country, along with the rising popularity of folding bikes.The company has sold about 5,000 Brompton bikes to Indonesian consumers over the past three years, reported.Topics :last_img read more

China records highest surge in virus cases since April

first_imgTwo more local cases were found in the neighboring province of Jilin near the North Korean border — the first since late May.The last four infections confirmed on Monday were imported from overseas.It is the highest daily tally of new virus cases since April 14, when 89 cases, mostly imported, were recorded.Chinese authorities have rolled out mass testing for hundreds of thousands of people in the port city of Dalian. Topics : A second wave of mass testing was also launched in Xinjiang’s Urumqi on Sunday to detect residents who had previously tested false negative, reported the state-run Global Times, following a mass testing effort earlier this month.More than 2.3 million people in the city of 3.5 million have been tested so far, according to a local press conference Friday.The outbreaks come as the Chinese Super League football tournament kicked off its much-delayed season on Saturday.Residential communities in both Dalian and Urumqi have been placed under lockdown, with authorities declaring a “wartime mode” to combat the virus. Experts still have not confirmed the origin of the recent Xinjiang cluster, which has infected 178 people to date. The fresh infections in Jilin were announced just days after President Xi Jinping concluded an inspection tour of the province last week. The area announced four new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, after screening travellers returning from Dalian.Another 302 asymptomatic cases in China are under medical observation, health authorities said Monday, and there are currently 331 people ill with COVID-19 across the country, 21 in a severe condition.center_img China recorded 61 new coronavirus cases on Monday — the highest daily figure since April — propelled by clusters in three separate regions that have sparked fears of a fresh wave.The bulk of 57 new domestic cases were found in the far northwestern Xinjiang region, according to the National Health Commission, where a sudden outbreak in the regional capital of Urumqi occurred in mid-July.Fourteen domestic cases were also recorded in the northeastern province of Liaoning where a fresh cluster broke out in the city of Dalian last week.last_img read more